Friday, October 9, 2009

Re-Boot As Needed

Has your life ever gotten so overwhelming that you could not process quickly enough to keep yourself on track. Things start going wrong. You start making mistakes. You lose things that are important. Your late for appointments. You can't keep up with emails. Many people are waiting for your answer and you haven't even had time to think about the question.

In a conversation with a friend earlier this week, he was describing his life situation to be in this state of overwhelm. He is doing the best he can to keep up, while new and even more challenging situations continue to be thrown at him to handle, while other things on his list are still on hold. He recognized that he needed a break to regain balance and get his life running more smoothly again. His description of this state is to re-boot his life.

We know what it's like when our computers are not running smoothly. Often times these little machines we rely on so greatly get overwhelmed with information and the system seems to slow down, or doesn't respond to our commands.

When my computer is behaving this way, I often continue to hit different keys, trying to get it to wake up and do the job I want it to perform. Many times, my impatience with it only makes the situation worse.

Eventually, I give up and re-boot. Miraculously as the computer re-boots, even after a short rest, things are running smoothly again. The processing is once again a prompt response to commands. It operates predictably and efficiently.

Re-booting in your life can work the same way. When we power down and rest while becoming still and quiet, all that seems to be in chaos can settle in to some sort of order. Our fast moving minds quiet so that we can remember what is really important. A feeling of peace replaces overwhelm and fear. As our perspective shifts, we can regain a sense of calmness as we handle the items on our to-do lists with a clearer mind.

The next time you find yourself not processing life quickly enough, rather than forcing yourself to continue to perform by pushing harder, I suggest you re-boot. When you start up again, I bet you'll be better able to meet life as it comes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lessons from Laramie

I recently had the experience of being in the audience of the play, The Laramie Project. I joined a full house of fellow theater goers appreciate a cast of amazing actors tell the story of a real life account of a town's reaction to a brutal beating and eventual death of a young homosexual man. This hate crime, although it took place in Laramie Wyoming, could have occurred anywhere. To me, this was not just a lesson about a lack of tolerance for homosexuality, but about addressing our fears of living together in a world of different races, religious beliefs, opinions, and life styles.

Following this poignant and well told story, the audience was invited to stay for a "Talk Back" with the actors. This is an opportunity to discuss the experience of the play's message and to express our views, emotions and lessons learned.

It was interesting to hear what struck each of those that spoke. I was pleased to see how a theatrical production can be the round table for a discussion about some very challenging issues.

Seeing and hearing the heart wrenching story seemed to be what caused us all to pause and feel the sadness that hate creates.

I imagine that conversations about intolerance and even hate are still occurring by all those that witnessed this dramatic story. I know I'm still thinking about it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reflections of Our Town

Last evening my husband and I attended the final performance of Our Town, produced by Hamilton-Gibson Productions. It was a compelling performance based on the superior talent of the director and actors, creative staging, and most importantly for the reflections and conversations that it stimulated once the show was complete.

When I was a young girl and had the assignment to read Our Town for English class, I was not impressed. There were no meaningful personal reflections that stayed with me throughout my years lived since high school. Perhaps at that time, it was because I was more concerned with my popularity or some other less than spiritual focus.

This performance, however, fully resonated with what I now hold as my focus for living life.

The overall running theme in the show is that the people of Grover's Corners were not fully present as they lived out their lives. There were things that needed to be done every day and as their attention was firmly placed on just getting through the day, the vibrancy of life was lost. It was as though there was a film that covered up the natural brightness that being fully present to each moment could bring.

In the touching and powerful final moments of the play, where several characters spoke from their graves, their regret for having missed the opportunities of fully living life inspired the audience to not make the same mistake.

Regardless of where your town happens to be, it seems it is the challenge for us all, to pause and be present to not only the choices we're making, but to one another.

It is my focus to experience my life as full and well lived. This is not based on how much I get done, but on how much I experience and can relate with others along the way.